Recorded Session: Reckoning with Manisses: Doing Justice to Block Island's Indigenous and African American Legacy

Recorded On: 10/11/2021

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Session Description

Reckoning with Manisses: Doing Justice to Block Island's Indigenous and African American Legacy is a Pre-Recorded session of the 2021 AASLH Online Conference.

Bringing together historians, social scholars, and residents collaborating on one public memory project in Rhode Island, this panel models a community-based process for reckoning with unjust local histories. Our goal is to introduce the island of Manisses (Block Island) and unearth lost narratives to re-center Indigenous and African American populations.


Chair: Amelia Moore, Ph.D. Associate Professor at University of Rhode Island
Dr. Amelia Moore is an Associate Professor of Marine Affairs in the College of Environment and Life Sciences at the University of Rhode Island. She earned her Ph.D. in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of California Berkeley and her B.A. in Environmental Biology from Columbia University. She approaches her research areas through the adaptive lens of feminist studies of science and black ecologies, building bridges between critical theories of social difference, anthropology, post- and de-colonial studies, political ecology, and the socioecological sciences. Amelia is currently involved in projects in the coastal state of Rhode Island (USA), Indonesia, and The Bahamas, her long-term research home.

Pamela Littlefield Gasner Executive Director at Block Island Historical Society Museum
Pamela Littlefield Gasner is Executive Director of the Block Island Historical Society and Vice President of the Block Island Southeast Lighthouse Foundation. She graduated in 1984 with a Bachelor of Arts from Colby College. Her studies focused on Art History and East Asian Studies.

Maryann Gobern Mathews President at Manissean Tribal Council
Maryann Gobern Mathews is a Black and Indigenous woman descended from many generations of Block Island land holders. She leads the Manissean Tribal Council, and has been at the forefront of the movement to acknowledge and address Indigenous and African American history on Block Island.

Susan Hagedorn, Ph.D. Associate Professor Emeritus at University of Colorado
Dr. Susan Hagedorn is a documentary filmmaker ( and nurse whose career has been dedicated to social justice as a nurse educator, nurse practitioner, philanthropist, filmmaker, and activist. Dr. Hagedorn has produced more than 20 films focused on nursing and social justice. Her documentaries include films advocating for advanced practice nurses in Colorado and Florida, a strike of registered nurses in Appalachia, the life and career of Loretta Ford, a portrait of the 85-year-old island nurse that is featured monthly on RI Public Television, a multi-site description of forensic nursing, the stories of nurse anesthetists in Colorado and home health nurses in Harlem and the Bronx, a history of the University of Colorado College of Nursing, a 10-video innovative curriculum for the Nurse Family Partnership, and a feature documentary for PBS about a murder of an Ecuadorian immigrant by 7 teens on Long Island (Deputized), among other subjects. She is recently completed a film, Berrigans: Devout and Dangerous about activist peacemakers and prophets, Daniel Berrigan, Philip Berrigan and Liz McAlister.

Marcus Nevius, Ph.D. Assistant Professor at University of Rhode Island
Dr. Marcus P. Nevius is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Rhode Island, where he teaches courses in the history of slavery, the Revolution, Confederation, and Early Republican periods in the early United States; and, in the history of African Americans in the early American republic. He is the author of "New Histories of Marronage in the Anglo-Atlantic World and Early America," published in History Compass; "Global Warfare, Conspiracy Scares, and Slave Revolts in a World of Fear," Review of Books, published in the William and Mary Quarterly; and City of Refuge: Slavery and Petit Marronage in the Great Dismal Swamp, 1763-1856 (Georgia, 2020). He has published book reviews in the Journal of African American History, the Journal of Southern History, and H-Net Civil War. He has also published an opinion piece in JSTOR Daily. He is the recipient of research fellowships granted by the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan; the Special Collections Research Center of the Earl Gregg Swem Library at the College of William and Mary; the Virginia Museum of History and Culture; and, the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon. Dr. Nevius holds a B.A. and M.A. in history from North Carolina Central University (@NCCUHistory), and the Ph.D. in history from The Ohio State University (@osuhistorydept). Follow him on Twitter @marcneev.


RECORDED DATE: October 11, 2021

COST: $5 AASLH Members / $10 Nonmembers / Free for Full Access and Basic Access Annual Meeting attendees w/ Promo Code (email

ACCESS: You will be provided with instructions on how to access the recording upon registration.

Recording Transcript

A transcript is provided with the recording.

Components visible upon registration.

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